Company fined following worker’s amputation - 10.6.16

An infrastructure company in Pilbara has been fined $50,00 in relation to an incident five years ago where a worker had both his legs amputated.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment for a person who was not an employee, and was fined in the Perth Magistrates Court on Thursday.

The incident happened in July 2011 at Anderson Point when four men were working on and in the area of a train unloader “indexer”. The train unloader automatically unloads iron ore from ore carts and transfer it onto conveyor belts.

The men were required to replace the gearbox on the indexer, but were not told that the indexer arm has the tendency to slope downwards when extended and should be adequately supported if it was disconnected from the gearbox. One the workers was caught between the arm and pinch points on the indexer.

The man’s left leg was amputated and his right leg crushed. He was brought to the Royal Perth Hospital and his right leg was later on amputated.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said that while the charge brought against the company did not allege that the worker’s injuries resulted from its failure to provide and maintain a safe workplace, the injuries showed that the hazard was not clearly identified and addressed by providing a strict safe system of work.

“Although the indexer had been electrically isolated during the work so it could not actually be started, the risk of uncontrolled movement due to gravity had not been properly considered and guarded against,” said Mr McCulloch.

“A worker suffered devastating and permanent injuries that were, in the end, totally avoidable.”

WorkSafe and the Department of Mines and Petroleum closely coordinated in investigating the incident and achieving the successful prosecution of the company.


Source: OHS News